Is it wrong to be in debt?
That depends on the way it’s used. Is “fire” wrong? That also depends on the way it’s used.
Matthew 25:15-30 [READ] shows an intelligent use of debt.
Unwisely use of debt is “bondage”. You can’t let greed guide your borrowing or let selfishness guide your borrowing money.
Let me start you out with this experiment before continuing what I was to uncover on being in debt, getting out of debt and staying free from debt.
List every bill you owe by writing them down on a piece of paper. To write across the paper boldly with these two words: DEBT FREE!
Everything hangs on LOVE:
Romans 13, Verse 8 “Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].”
Verse 8 isn’t about finances; make sure you don’t owe anyone LOVE.
“Debt is dumb. Most normal people are just plain broke because they are in debt up to their eyeballs with no hope of help.
If you’re in debt, then you’re a SLAVE because you do not have the FREEDOM to use your money to help change your family tree.” –by Dave Ramsey
When I refer to Debt Slavery, I am referring to excessive debt; excessive debt is “surety”. Surety is a situation of being in debt without a sure way to repay.
Proverbs 22: 7 says it this way: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a servant to the lender.” Debt limits Godly opportunity in your life.
My Personal Story–
Dianne and I were married in 1964. I had been employed with the same company for over five years and felt that stability was in place to get married; to start a family right away. My wife had been brought up in a family where they paid for things with cash; no credit cards, no check writing, just cash. Her folks never discussed finances openly, so she knew nothing about budgeting our income.
On the other hand, I came from a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. If we didn’t have the money to spend on a vacation, a new car or any luxury items, my mom was an expert in budgeting and knowing how to “Rob Peter to pay Paul”; and she always paid Peter back.
Shortly after we were married, my mom cornered Dianne at their house one night and asked her, “Do you know how, as anyone explained to you how to budget your household expenses?” It caught her by surprise, because she figured if you had cash — you bought and paid for it right there! God bless my mom.
To this day, Dianne says she will never forget the day mom sat at the kitchen table and explained how family finances work in a practical, organized system.
Six months later, I was let go from my job and was unemployed for over six months. We now had a baby, furniture, car payment, rent, utilities, food, etc., etc.. Here is where Budgeting 101 was put to use…everyday!
Almost 47 years later, after raising three children, no mortgage, no car payments, etc., etc., we are still using and living by mom’s budget instruction manual and it still works.
TURN TO the Letter of James 1:1-4 Amplified Version:
JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad [among the Gentiles in the dispersion]: Greetings (rejoice)!
Getting out of DEBT and KEEPING OUT OF DEBT: “Debt Freedom”
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be a [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Psalm 37:21, 22 “The wicked borrow and pay not again [for they may be unable], BUT the [uncompromisingly] righteous deal kindly and give [for they are able]. For such as are blessed of God shall [in the end] inherit the earth, BUT they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off.”
THE “BLESSING” and a “CURSE”:
The first thing and the last thing man will hear is, “Be blessed, be fruitful and multiply”. What is The Blessing? It’s an empowerment from God for you to succeed in your health, your longevity, your marriage, even your finances.
A Curse is an empowerment to fail in your health, your longevity, your marriage and your financial security.
Deuteronomy 28 is the chapter to re-read on “BLESSINGS” and “CURSES”. Deuteronomy 28:58, 59 says, If you will not be watchful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book [the Word of God], that you may [reverently] fear this glorious and fearful name [and presence] — THE LORD YOUR GOD — Then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary strokes and blows…”
Don’t block the BLESSING with your DEBT!
GOD is your SOURCE:
Proverbs 8:20, 21 “I [Wisdom] walk in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation), in the midst of the paths of justice. That I may cause those who love me to inherit [true] riches and that I may fill their treasuries.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnish in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Remember what James 1:2, 3, says about trials and temptations, and believe me when I say, being in debt can be started by temptations that will lead to trials. And when you give in to those various temptations, you will eventually have to “pay Peter back what you robbed him of”.
Learning to be “Content”:
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your character or moral disposition BE FREE from LOVE OF MONEY [including greed, jealousy of others, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support, [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Josh. 1:5]”
It is a worthwhile saying to remember “contentment” in your temptation.
To be “wholly joyful in” not be “wholly joyful FOR” your trials; to “have”, not “have not” when you’re facing a trial of “Debt Slavery”.
Contentment means to, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”.
Seeking Godly Counsel:
“A person needing financial advice should not go to someone who makes his living selling the very thing he’s contemplating buying.”
Psalm 1:1 “BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.”
Proverbs 15:22 “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, BUT with many counselors they are accomplished.”
The “Debt Slavery or Debt Freedom” question has an obvious answer; “Give me Freedom from Debt”.
I have given you just a few WORDS from God’s Word in what you can do to get free and stay free from DEBT. I want to leave you with 10-Biblical Principles by George Fooshee and what my family has used as a practical way of staying in Debt Freedom:
1. God is your source.
2. Give first [Proverbs 3:9, 10; II Cor. 9:6-10].
3. Live on a margin. (write out your income and expenses; stick to the budget!)
4. Save money [Prov. 21:20; 22:3]. Have something, like $25.00 automatically taken out of you paycheck to savings.
5. Keep out of debt.
6. Be content with what you have.
7. Keep records of your spending. (Even a small business can’t stay in business without keeping records).
8. Don’t co-sign.
9. Work hard.
10. Seek Godly counsel.